Unprofessional Habits that Could Cost You a Job

Annoying your coworkers, while never a good idea, is one thing. But annoying your boss with your unprofessional habits could cost you your job. Its leads you finding a new job. To help you avoid letting bad habits shine through at the worst moments, we asked experts to highlight some of the least professional behavior you could demonstrate that will almost certainly cost you a job.


Your bad workplace habits could get you fired or cost you a promotion.

Interview Skills


Here are the things you could be doing all wrong that may make your boss think you’re not right for the job:

Being sloppy

Your resume is your first contact with HR or recruiters. And typos, grammar mistakes, and formatting issues will land it in the “no pile within a few seconds.

“If your resume is sloppy, they’ll assume you are, too.”

Showing up late to work

“The professional thing to do is to arrive on time, ready to do what is expected. It’s not like they just sprung this job on you.”

Not doing your homework 

Employers take note of candidates that are educated on the responsibilities of the job opening in question and on the company itself. This demonstrates that you made the decision to apply for the job after considering the facts, rather than out of desperation.

Trying too hard to garner attention

If you want your resume to stand out, for instance, let it be because of its content and format.  Using colored paper, a multitude of fonts, or even including confetti with your resume will attract attention, but not the right kind.

Smoking and drinking

Never smoke anything before a job interview, Your interviewer will smell it on you. Drinking before the interview is also a bad idea. While alcohol can help calm nerves, it does so by dulling the senses, Oliver says, and you run the risk of not sounding intelligent.

Practicing poor hygiene

Water shortage or not, if there’s one occasion you really want to shower before, it’s a job interview. Lack of effort in your appearance can be construed as potentially lacking effort in your work and work area.

Being late

Frequent tardiness is a common bad habit, but do whatever you can to avoid showing up late to the interview. It will tell the hiring manager that you are irresponsible, aren’t taking this process seriously, and don’t respect their time. And this is not the first impression you want to make.

Texting while waiting 

It’s a good idea to arrive a little early to your interview, but be careful not to let boredom get the best of you.

Texting while you wait will make you look as if you would rather be elsewhere.

Most waiting areas have magazines, Randall notes, and if you see a company brochure, even better. Reading that will reflect your interest in the company.

Grooming in public

Grooming in public a good idea to pack a small grooming kit for a quick touch-up before an interview. But rather than apply lipstick or brush your hair in the reception area, you should arrive a few minutes before the interview starts, duck into the restroom, and complete your final grooming before the interview.

Bringing too much stuff

Your portfolio and copies of your resume are all you need to bring to your interview — everything else is superfluous. Randall suggests leaving your latte or water bottle in the car and putting away your cellphone so you’re free to shake hands.

Dressing too casually

Dressing too formally for an interview can tell an employer that you didn’t research the company culture and you’re not a fit.

Speaking without thinking 

This is a terrible habit — and it can be especially detrimental during a job search. Saying the wrong thing to the receptionist, for instance, can crush your chances of landing a job.

Being too informal

While I’m not promoting a formal, ‘How do you do?’-style greeting, you might consider stepping it up a bit when you’re introducing yourself to the person who will be determining whether you get the job or not.

Projecting a bad attitude

If you doubt your abilities or see only the worst possible outcome, your interviewer might pick up on that negative energy. Similarly, it’s important not to badmouth a former boss, coworker, or employee during any stage of the interview process. Even if your former boss or organization is known for its problems, a job interview is no time to express your anger. Another bad attitude, arrogance, is often confused with confidence. Walk into the interview with a mix of confidence and humility, smile, and show some enthusiasm.


Naturally, the purpose of an interview is to impress the company with your talent and skills. But be aware of oversharing; they may learn more about you than they need to.

To avoid oversharing, she suggests following a few simple rules: Keep it relevant. Leave your childhood out of it. Don’t insist on special favors or accommodations. And don’t use the term “deal breaker.” Instead, listen and give the interviewer an opportunity to ask questions.


It’s rude to interrupt. When you do, it shows others that you don’t have any respect, judgment, or patience.


You may be really excited to be interviewing with your top choice for employer, but blurting out foul language is a surefire way to cut the interview short. Swearing demonstrates to others that you aren’t able to calmly and thoughtfully deal with a situation.


Lying or exaggerating during the hiring process can destroy your chances of ever being hired with that employer.

Poor body language

What you say in an interview is as important as how you say it, and bad body language takes away from your words. some of the biggest body-language mistakes job seekers make include failing to make eye contact, failing to smile, and bad posture.

Nervous habits like jingling your keys, shaking your leg, and scratching your head can also be construed as boredom. Interviews are highly stressful, even for those doing the interviewing. Through your body language, try to convey how delighted you are to be given the opportunity to compete for the amazing job.

Not being gracious

A few things happen when you don’t send a thank-you email. The hiring manager assumes you don’t want the job. They think you’re disorganized and forgot about following up. And there is a much higher chance they’ll forget about you.